Back to teaching and already had a 7th grader say “F*ck you”

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Scrappy, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Scrappy

    Scrappy Rookie

    Jan 8, 2009
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    Sep 8, 2018

    I am back to teaching after a couple of decades lost in the world of HR. I’m teaching ELA to five classes of 7th graders. Three of the classes have been a pleasure so far, but the other two are not fully in my control. I have about 30 students per class, and both afternoon classes have at least six kids with real issues, whether those be impulse control or anger or whatever and they all feed off of each other in an endless loop of misbehavior. It’s a diverse student body, mostly from a poorer area. I am having a hard time just keeping them quiet and seated for the whole class.

    One girl called another a “ho” in class, which I dealt with immediately and got an apology. Right after that, a boy in the class got into it with her, and when I told him it was settled and he was to be quiet, he said he could say what he wanted and when I told him he needed to stop talking, he said “F*ck you” to me. I wrote him up and he got a talking to from the principal and Dean, but I still feel awful.

    I have a point system going, where they get points for quieting down on request, volunteering in class, good answers,etc. If they get 25 points in a week, they get to play board games for the last 10 minutes of class on Fridays. Three of my classes made it, but these last two did not. I even had a girl tell me “no one respects you”. I feel like I’ve lost them already, and it’s only the first week of school. if my other three classes weren’t going so well, I’d think I just had forgotten how to teach!

    Any advice for me?
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Jun 27, 2014
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    Sep 8, 2018

    First off, you are doing a great job, so don’t beat yourself up over two classes out of five. Second, those other three classes are going great, so you must be doing something right!

    And if no one respects you, then how do you have a handle on the other three, huh?

    Concerning the two problem classes, I would spread out the trouble makers and situate them in between students who behave.

    Third, be consistent with the rules. For instance, I have a student who constantly tries to eat in class — and I am on him about it every time — and so I started making him put ALL of his food on my desk at the beginning of the period, including his lunch. He was not happy with that, but I spoke with admin and his parents about his constant eating and they readily agreed with my solution. (And he’s not hypoglycemic or diabetic so it’s okay.) I also have another student who tries to get me off track by constantly approaching my desk during classwork time, wiggling his eyebrows at me, and complimenting me. It’s very bizarre, but I just ignore him and tell him to get back to work; it riles him up, but I don’t have time to deal with his nonsense on top of everything else I have to do in my day.

    Anyway, keep it up. Don’t take what students say to you personally. Their prefrontal cortexes are not fully developed yet and so I don’t get furious at their comments. For instance, last year a student said during class, “Hey FMP, you want to hear a math joke?” Now, considering the student at the time I shouldn’t have listened, but I like math jokes and so I gave the him the go-ahead. Said student then proceeded to say, “Add two people, subtract their clothing, divide their legs, and hope they don’t multiply.” Needless to say, I was not amused and sent him down to the principal’s office, wherein he was given one day of in-school suspension.

    From then on, I realized that students are going to say stupid and innappropriate things and I have to accept that. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it because there’s nothing to make sense of. There’s no sense of direction when it comes to students and their wacky behavior. They know not what they do.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Oct 25, 2005
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    Sep 9, 2018

    Rules and procedures. Teach them constantly. Stick to them. Follow through with consequences for not following procedures. That’s the only thing I know.

    We used to joke that they sent the good kids home after lunch because the afternoon classes are always a handful. My planning is last period, and I love it.

    I taught 7th grade ELA for most of my career. They’re immature and mouthy. No filter. I also learned to ignore a lot of silly behaviors that really weren’t anything more than annoying. And I never take things personally. None of my self worth is tied to what a 13 year old things of me. LOL I switched to 8th grade four years ago. Still need rules and procedures. I have one class that is full of squirrelly boys and loud girls. And I take them to lunch. Some days, perfect. Other days, not so much.

    As far as the unruly classes, lock down. The one who said no one respects you should get consequences same as “f*ck you” kid. Both were rude and disrespectful. Maybe take a really close look at how you run that class. It could be that you let your guard down with them and don’t realize it. I’ve caught myself doing that just because I’m worn down some days.
    mrsf70, Scrappy and futuremathsprof like this.
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Sep 10, 2018

    I remember those days very well. Like others said, the "no one respects you" is just something to get you upset, your other 3 classes obviously respect you, so it's not you, it's them.

    With these 2 classes you just need to tighten things up. 100 % consistent (there is no other way, right?), handle every single thing, no "pick your battles" here. You come down on every little thing, because those little things will become big things. Leave any and all emotions out of any dealing with the kids, and be super strict. I think this is the situation they mean "don't smile until Christmas". It might seem at first that the situation gets worse or won't improve, but eventually it will.
    The kids will respect you, or at the very least they will behave and you will have full control.
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
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    Sep 10, 2018

    My sister taught art in a suburban high school and one year a students carved F you, Ms _____ in one of her wooden tables. Nice.
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Jun 18, 2016
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    Sep 16, 2018

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    Upsadaisy likes this.
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Sep 16, 2010
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    Sep 16, 2018

    Why do you feel awful? He made a poor choice and received a consequence for it. It isn't as if you made him say it then punished him for it.
    Leaborb192 and ms.irene like this.

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